How Employers Can Engage and Motivate Gen Z Workers

Gen Z represents the generation that follows millennials, and now they’re beginning to come of age and enter the workforce.

Today’s young people have a bad reputation. Many older adults think of them as immature, lazy, tech-obsessed children with incredibly short attention spans, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The young people of today are driven to succeed, and they’re looking for the right places of employment to reach that goal.

Millennials versus Gen Z at Work: What Are the Differences?

Every generation brings new changes to society, and Gen Z is no different. Today’s young adults are watching less TV, and they’re using their smart phones more than any other type of device.

While millennials were known for being a bit idealistic, people of the next generation grew up with a harsh sense of reality. Most of them were aware that the job market was going to be tough, and polls have shown that they expect to work harder than earlier generations.

Another unique characteristic of this generation is independence. These young people prefer independent work over collaborative efforts, and they maintain a strong do-it-yourself attitude.

Many of these characteristics will ensure that this generation produces great workers. However, employers will have to come up with creative ways to keep them engaged in the workplace.

The Qualities of Generation Z: How Can Employers Support Their Young Workers?

1. The Concern for Holistic Living

As the buzz about the importance of self-care continues to spread, more people are getting on board with a holistic lifestyle. That means that the young people of this generation expect to work hard and play even harder. They want to travel and see the world. They want to make a difference and take care of themselves at the same time.

Employers can play into this generation’s desire for a balanced lifestyle by promoting forward-thinking health practices at work. From starting the day at the office with a quick meditation session to offering gluten-free, vegan snacks in the break room, there is plenty you can do to show your younger team members that they are with a company that cares about them.

2. The Love of Tech

The youngest people entering the workforce expect to be working with today’s most advanced technologies. They grew up with technology being a normal part of everyday life, which means they’ll judge a workplace based on the sort of technology that’s available. If your office is still operating on old computers, it might be time for an update.

3. The Refusal to Settle

Gen Z is ready to work hard, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to settle for a miserable grind. They grew up being told they were special. They represent a generation that was pushed hard to involve themselves in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, which helped them learn what they’re capable of achieving. They believe that hard work should equal a good lifestyle, and they’re not going to be willing to settle for less unless they absolutely must do so.

Employers can take advantage of this high standard by providing their younger employees with plenty of challenging work. Part of what makes a grind miserable is boredom, so don’t make the mistake of making things too easy. You’ll also want to offer incentives, such as extra vacation time or bonuses, to reward hard work.

4. The Need for Flexibility

Most of today’s younger generations don’t like being locked into a strict schedule. Research suggests that if current trends continue, most workers will be freelancing by the year 2027. Thanks to the internet, many people have realized that they can work from anywhere, which provides the opportunity to travel around the world while remaining connected. If an employer can provide their team members with the option of working from afar, they’ll be likely to keep those employees around.

5. The Short Attention Span

There’s some truth to the idea that the younger generations have shorter attention spans. The members of the new generation are used to fast-paced social media platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram. They like to quickly see what they’re dealing with and move forward to get things done. You can appeal to their fast-paced lifestyles by providing instruction and other information in small, easily digestible doses.

6. They Care About the World

This is a generation with strong personal morals. Unlike some of the previous generations, they’re paying attention to headlines, monitoring politics and taking their right to vote more seriously. Between that and their unwillingness to settle, you can bet that they take the environmental and political practices of any potential workplace into account.

Research has shown that Gen Z is deeply concerned with issues such as climate change, alternative fuels, land conservation and water access. An employer can attract and motivate a youthful workforce by dedicating to maintaining green office practices, hosting fundraisers for good causes and giving back to the local community in other ways.

This generation stands to make a huge difference in society. These bright young people will challenge companies to demonstrate what they can offer the world, which goes far beyond simply providing members of the community with a paycheck. As employers move forward and begin working with Gen Z and those that will follow, they’ll need to continue to develop a holistic approach to ethical and progressive business practices.